Surgeons have taken minimally invasive surgery to a new level by reducing the number of incisions needed for surgery to just one.
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Melissa Medley: It's standing room only in O.R. 2 at Tampa General Hospital. From Maine to Alaska surgeons line up to learn how to perform the most minimally invasive surgery available. Dr. Alex Rosemurgy: Yes, It's one incision as opposed to three or four or five. Melissa Medley: It's called laparoendoscopic single site surgery, or LESS. Doctors use it to remove gall bladders, appendixes, liver cysts, and repair hernias, and acid reflux disease. A specially-designed port that's inserted through a one-centimeter cut at the belly button allows miniature tools to enter the body.. Dr. Alex Rosemurgy: We could argue that there's less pain, and we can certainly say that with one incision there's less risk of problems with hernias and infections. Melissa Medley: Sunny Lichtenberg needed surgery for a swallowing disorder. Sunny Lichtenberg: "I had really gotten to the point where I couldn't eat at all. Melissa Medley: An operation that used to require up to five incisions across the stomach now only needs one at the belly button. Surgeons accessed Lichtenberg's esophagus through the stomach. Sunny Lichtenberg: "Actually, I woke up and said how many holes do I have, and they said one. I said, yea one! "I think it made my recovery time so much less." Melissa Medley: Today, the piercing above her belly button is actually bigger than the scar from the operation. Sunny Lichtenberg: One incision is absolutely wonderful, I was able to go back to work in a week Melissa Medley: Surgery that does more with less and allows patients to get back to their lives sooner. I'm Melissa Medley reporting.